MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Taylor Jenkins’ route to become the latest head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies really didn’t start on the basketball path, but it ends up with him running an NBA bench from the top seat.
Jenkins stopped playing basketball after high school.
Concentrating on academics, he earned a Bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Wharton School of Business.
He got the hook-up into hoops from his grandmother, who was friends with San Antonio owner Peter Holt, for an internship with the Spurs.
And the rest is all basketball, from the Spurs front office, to head coaching their D-League team to the playoffs.
Another hook-up from Spurs disciple Mike Budenholzer put him on the bench at Atlanta and this past season at Milwaukee, where the Bucks had the best record in the NBA and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Jenkins says his demeanor on the bench will be measured now that he’s a head coach in the association.
“I think you’re probably a little more emotional when you’re an assistant coach," said Jenkins. “You’re diving into scouting reports, and ‘you walked through that play.’ People watching it are probably making fun of me for saying that stuff. Yeah, jumping in front of the bench. Won’t live that down. 100 percent, unequivocally, you’ll see a passion.”
“He talked about all the different guys that meant so much to him, and he got emotional about that," added Tayshaun Prince, Grizzlies vice president of basketball affairs. "So, you know the willingness, the competitveness, and drive that he has. That’s what we like about him.”
“Over the course of his time in San Antonio, Austin, Atlanta, and Milwaukee, Taylor cut his teeth, refined his elite basketball accumen, and demonstrated his ability to meaningfully connect with players," said Zack Kleiman, Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations.
Jenkins says he’s already had conversations with Grizzlies budding star Jeran Jackson Jr. on ways he can improve his game.